Budgeting Blow: Don’t plan on saving without budgeting

Everyone has a friend, family member or co worker that wants to save money and when asked or pressed about how they’re doing it, they don’t have any answers.

Even though the one answer you’re looking for is the easiest of them all: have a budget and stick to it.

The “sticking to it” part won’t mean a whole lot if you don’t even have a budget and you’re simply paying bills blindly as your paycheck or other sources of income are tallied but hardly tracked accordingly.

What is a budget so important?

Mostly because the majority of people know how much they make, they know how much their paycheck is for and that it goes into the bank. But conversely, they aren’t as sure what they are spending.

Sure, the big ticket items are covered and understood, such as cars, utilities, your living quarters, and even credit card or other debt you’re on the hook for, but what about all those incidental spending sprees or minor buying that you do consistently?
Are you account for that as well?

Chances are, every time you buy a cup of coffee, pack of cigarettes or bottled water, you’re not tracking that kind of spending. But perhaps if it is something that is consistent, you should be. Far too often, budgeting is broken down or loses its grip on saving money when you are spending money that isn’t part of that budget and thus you don’t realize at the end of a month why you haven’t been able to saved as planned.

Often times, incidental expenses or even things like clothing, eating out at restaurants or just buying a movie through your cable company a few times per month go unnoticed, when in actuality they can quickly close the gap between having a few hundred dollars left at the end of the month to being in a negative (particularly when you’re talking about restaurant dining and clothing).

Some even forgo tracking spending that goes beyond bills and will forget about grocery store shopping as well, even though those large ticket items can’t be ignored (you can say the same for gas for your vehicle or even a vacation that isn’t on the books).
Saving money starts and ends with a budget but having one isn’t the same as following it and making sure you have it down to the very last penny when possible.